Donald Trump lost the 2020 presidential election.
His refusal to acknowledge that fact, buttressed by his ― and his enablers’ ― endless lying about it and baseless attempts to overturn it, culminated in the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, and Trump’s subsequent second impeachment.
House managers summed all that up at the second impeachment trial with one phrase, repeated over and over. They described it as “the big lie.”
The shorthand seems to have been effective, because Trump is now trying to claim it for himself and overwrite its meaning with one he likes better ― not unlike what he did with the term “fake news.” But Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the third highest-ranking House Republican, keeps reminding him that facts matter.
“Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE,” Cheney continued, aping Trump’s use of all caps. Those people are “turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system,” she wrote.
Cheney’s comment is noteworthy given her leadership role in the GOP and her sustained efforts to steer other Republicans away from Trump’s lie about the election results ― which have made her an outlier in the party.
Her stance on Trump has put her at odds with many of her Republican colleagues, including House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.).
Republicans lashed out after President Joe Biden fist-bumped Cheney, along with at least 20 other people, in the House chamber before he addressed a joint session of Congress last week. Cheney stood her ground, citing the importance of civility in politics ― even among people who disagree.
“I disagree strongly w/ @JoeBiden policies,” she tweeted afterward, “but when the President reaches out to greet me in the chamber of the US House of Representatives, I will always respond in a civil, respectful & dignified way. We’re different political parties. We’re not sworn enemies. We’re Americans.”